The Apple Core: Apple adds volume limiting to iPod

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 30th, 2006, 11:17
Category: iPod

volume-limit.jpgI’ve been ranting on the effects of loud music on hearing loss for a while now and it’s refreshing to see Apple take efforts to help limit the hearing damage potential caused by the iPod – too bad it took a lawsuit to make them do it.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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The X Fader: iPod Fader on the Cheap

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, 09:56
Category: iPod

thexfader.jpg

Ever been rocking your iPod at a party and a really lame song comes up in the shuffle? Nothing is worse than that ackward silence as you scroll through your playlist to find something more appropriate to play.
Times like this call for a mixer. The problem is that most mixers are expensive and heavy and unless you’re a pro DJ you’re not about to haul one to a party. Enter the xFader a tiny crossfader designed for iPod DJing. While not a full mixer, the xFader provides an easy way to fade between two sources.
When a lame song comes on, simply fade into a second iPod in the on-deck circle and keep the party going. The xFader features two standard 3.5mm stereo mini plugs so it connects to any device with an audio output – not just iPods. A standard 3.5mm stereo mini jack allows you to connect to any stereo or PA via the included RCA patch cable
The xFader is also great for when that guy invariably comes up and says “you’ve gotta play this!” The xFader weighs in at less than 3 ounces and is encased in a pocketable plastic case. You can pick one up for US$40 (shipped) from TheXFader.com.

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Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2

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Date: Sunday, February 26th, 2006, 21:39
Category: iPod

neuros-mpeg4.jpgI’m writing about a device I found that makes a terrific addition to the iPod with video. A company called Neuros Audio (http://www.neurosaudio.com/) has a little pocket-sized MPEG4 recorder – basically a little VCR – that records directly to Compact Flash or Memory Stick in the iPod format. Drag the recording into iTunes, and poof! You’ve got your favorite show to go!
After waiting and waiting through transcoding to load things onto my iPod, I picked one up on a whim last week, and I have to admit that until TiVo gets their direct-to-iPod transfers up and running, this is the best thing since sliced bread for a video iPod owner… It’s got several quality settings and a recording timer so you can set it to record from any device with RCA video and audio outputs.
The MPEG4 recorder 2 costs US$149 and is available from Neuros Audio.
(Contributed by Lou Flemal)

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Full-Screen iPod 6G Confirmed a Fake (Updated)

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Date: Saturday, February 25th, 2006, 11:43
Category: iPod

ipod-video-6g.jpgBy now you have probably seen picture of the alleged iPod video 6G that got posted on Flickr. Some think it’s real others think that it’s a fake.
Personally, I don’t think Apple recycles old part numbers. The picture below shows the part number shown on the alleged iPod ( M8719Z/A) as being for Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar Server 10 Client User Edition.
M8719ZA.jpg
There are some who claim that the “8″ is actually a “B,” but then again, there are also people who believe in the Easter Bunny
When I heard there might be a touch-screen iPod, this is what I imagined it might look like, but I think it’s a fake. (Thanks MacRumors)
UPDATE:
The mysterious person who posted the picture of a supposed new iPod has posted a video showing the making of the photo that turned out to be fake. Here it is at a mirrored site, as the original link broke down. (Thanks Digg)

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Landscape Full-Screen iPod Coming April 1?

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Date: Monday, February 13th, 2006, 09:22
Category: iPod

apple-ipod-patent.gifAnalyst Charles Wolf of Needham & Co. thinks that Apple may have a surprise announcement up its sleeve for April 1, 2006. According to MacNN:

Apple could use April 1–Apple’s 30th birthday–as an opportunity to introduce an Intel-based iBook as well as the “real” video iPod. Wolf says that a failure by Apple to have an Intel iBook ready for purchase by the May beginning of the K-12 school-buying season would significantly jeopardize Apple’s education sales, in which the iBook represents an “increasing fraction.” Wolf noted that “at the end of his Macworld keynote address in January, Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, noted that the company will celebrate its 30th birthday on April 1, 2006. While it’s possible that Jobs was simply pointing out the longevity of Apple, we interpret it as a signal that Apple will hold a major birthday party in the form of new product event around that date, most likely in early April.”

Apple announced the iPod 5G with video on October 12, 2005 and there is a rumor that Apple will use their 30th anniversary to announce a “true video iPod” with an edge-to-edge screen and a virtual clickwheel. Macstein suggests that the next generation iPod will have a resolution of 960×540 and be in the 16:9 widescreen format.
Hrmph.com has posted some drawings from an Apple patent (one is pictured above) detailing what could be a new iPod form-factor. The image appears to feature an iPod in a landscape orientation running a full version of iTunes as opposed to the stripped-down iPod music player UI.

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New Lip Around Face of iPod nano 1GB

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 13th, 2006, 09:45
Category: iPod

ipod-nano-1gb-lip.jpgA posting on the iLounge message boards claims that Apple has added a new lip around the front of the new iPod nano 1GB to protect it from scratching.

Apple has sliently updated the iPod nano design in response to scratching outcry. With the 1GB nano and possible others, there is a slightly raised rim around the entire iPod, thus preventing the entire iPod face touching the surface when laid on its face.

This has not been confirmed and there’s no word on whether Apple plans a similar change to the 2GB and 4GB nanos.

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The Apple Core: Why the 1GB iPod won't do video; RIP shuffle?

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Date: Wednesday, February 8th, 2006, 07:00
Category: iPod

ipodnano_blk_front.jpgIn a surprise announcement today, Apple announced a 1GB version of their popular iPod nano for US$149 that will hold up to 240 songs or 15,000 photos. At the same time Apple dropped the price of the iPod shuffles to US$69 and US$99 for the 512MB and 1GB models respectively. If you’re a student or an educator you can buy the 1GB iPod nano for US$129 which is the same price as the 1GB shuffle was one year ago.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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What is the Lifespan of an iPod?

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 7th, 2006, 19:00
Category: iPod

A New York Times article (“Good Luck With That Broken iPod“) by Joe Nocera bemoans the fact that iPods (shock!) eventually die:

By refusing to deal with broken iPods, why is Apple so willing to tick off people who spend thousands of dollars on their products?
It happened right after Christmas – a Christmas, I hasten to add, in which I gave my wife the new video iPod, making it the latest of the half-dozen iPods my family has bought since Apple began selling them in October 2001. We also own five Apple computers, and have become pathetically loyal because of our reliance on the iPod. To the extent that Apple is using the iPod to drive sales of other Apple products, the Nocera family is proof that the strategy works; we’ve probably spent more than $10,000 on Apple hardware since the iPod first came out. Alas, at least three of the iPods were replacements for ones that broke.

(Editor’s Note: the NY Times now charges for articles in their archive, so it’ll cost you US$4 to read the article or US$8 per month to subscribe – a real shame.)
PowerPage reader hjcho writes with some analysis of the NYT piece:
I found this particularly amusing, since the average cell phone user gets a new one every 18 months (and how much does a new RAZR or Treo cost, not counting the service?), the “fragile” disk drives Enderle speaks so knowingly about are installed in about a zillion laptops, and by his logic, any electronics company that sells fewer media players than Apple will have even less incentive to provide customer service.
The funny thing is, I have a four year old 2G iPod that’s still going strong. I did have to replace the plug after three years, but it has lasted longer than any cell phone or PDA I’ve had so far. No doubt there have been problems, but for every ‘horror story,” there are probably at least ten satisfied customers, if not more. The numbers are hard to argue with, and there must be thousands of repeat buyers, including the guy who wrote the column!

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Noreve Leather iPod Video Case

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Date: Wednesday, February 1st, 2006, 08:00
Category: iPod

noreve-ipod-closed.jpgReaders of the PowerPage already know that I’m a proponent of wrapping everything in a case – especially the iPod. I cringe when I see people using shiny new iPods unprotected and remember seeing several that were used without cases and subsequently look like a piece of sandpaper was taken to them.
My current favorite iPod case is the “Leather 60GB Color Tradition” [4104T2] from Noreve. It’s basically a larger version of the leather iPod nano case I reviewed back in October 2005.
noreve-ipod-open.jpgNoreve cases are beautifully constructed of full-grain cowhide and look like a fine wallet, they’re also lined with velvet to minimize scratching. It’s an operate-in type case with a protective flap to cover the screen and clickwheel. Simply slide the iPod in and you’re done. You can access the hold switch, earphone jack and dock connector while in the case. The Noreve case doesn’t block the docking cable port so you can leave it in the case. As an added bonus the Noreve cases feature a completely removable belt clip.
Noreve now has a U.S. distributor – MCE Technologies, a boon for customers that are stateside. If you’re in Europe you can order directly from Noreve in France.
The Noreve “Leather 60GB Color Tradition” case comes in black or white and is available for US$34.95 from MCE Technologies.

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Griffin SmartShare Headphone Splitter (Updated)

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Date: Friday, January 27th, 2006, 09:11
Category: iPod

griffin_smartshare.jpgLike any good mobile technologist, there’s a few stock items that I carry everywhere in my PowerBook gear bag. One of them is a headphone splitter so that I can jack a friend into my iPod or PowerBook during air or train travel. This little doodad can be found for about two bucks from Radio Shack.
Griffin Technology has a new spin on an old favorite. I’ve been playing with their just-announced headphone splitter called SmartShare ($20) and it’s different that the run-of-the-mill “dumb” splitter. SmartShare gives you independent volume control on each channel. This way you can jam the latest house track from Deep Dish while your mate keeps it on low.
The SmartShare is available now for pre-order from Griffin.

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